#359: What Paths Do Our Lives Take?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Recently, I wrote about a book I'm editing for my aunt in Indiana. It's a story of her life from being a barefoot young girl growing up in Appalachia to become minister of her own church. As I work on this story I am learning more and more of her background that I didn't know before. And, watching her life change through her words, I have started to think about my own life and how it has progressed.

But more importantly, I have started to wonder about our lives in general and how seemingly insignificant decisions and events can alter the course of our lives forever.

Are there times you look back on and wonder how your life would have evolved if you had made a different choice?

I'm sure we all have but we will never know what would have happened if we had done something differently. Still, we have those situations we would have changed. So, since we can not turn back the clock what can we do?

We can learn from our mistakes. We can learn from our timidity and make bolder decisions in the future. We can learn from our failed or flawed relationships and vow to eliminate hate and envy and other negative aspects of our personalities. We can also vow to never allow another moment pass by when we could have extended a helping hand to someone but didn't.

This is not living in the past. It is improving our present and future by learning from our past. As Frank Sinatra often sang, "Regrets, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention."

Let's not have more regrets in our lives. Let's reach out and grasp the opportunities that present themselves to us to accept a job or a promotion or to meet someone new or help someone or to take a trip or take up an activity we have always wanted to try.

Life really is too short. Let's learn from the past and embrace the future with open arms. Let's LIVE life rather than merely passing through it.
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  • no profile photo YW84FRIDAY
    I don't worry about what might have been. It's a waste of time. Plus on those rare occasions where I do think "What if... " the answer is always the same, "Would you be willing to trade what is (your children, friends, etc) for what might have been? Ummm no..."

    3945 days ago
    I think most people can say, "If I could go back and live my life again, I would do things differently." Would we? Or would we still follow the same paths that led us to where we are today? You are so right; learn from the past and embrace the future! We don't deliberately set out to fail at anything; therefore, we can not live with regret ruling our lives. To do so would stop us from moving ahead.

    Excellent blog!
    3946 days ago
    I have had more than a few regrets- too many to mention. LOL
    Lou, you are right sometimes it is good to pause and reflect to learn a lesson , that is not living in the past . We don't want to keep making the same mistakes. Thanks for taking time to blog! Hugs, Joy
    3946 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6035648
    Well.. I kind of have to think that everything that has happened in my life has happened for a reason. I wanted to be a professional musician as a teen, and showed promise. I actually auditioned at Hart School of Music in Hartford Connecticut, got accepted into the program (which is a rarity for an out of stater), but my parents wouldn't allow me to go..after all, "Girls don't play drums". I wanted to play in the pit for Broadway shows in NYC, compose music (I also played the piano), and be a studio musician. Didn't happen..I didn't want kids or a family or to get married for that matter, music was my life, and I didn't think I would be able to devote the time to both..
    We had a lot of family problems (due to my sister and her husband's irresponsibility)and I had to leave home. There was no room at the inn for me so to speak. So, I ended up moving "down the shore" and working 3 jobs to support myself and pay for my own college. Met my now ex-husband while at college, studying to become a teacher. I had given up on music, well basically, I cut off my own nose to spite my face.. After graduation, I got married, started interviewing for jobs, landed a coveted position, and bang, a week later found out I was pregnant. Had to turn down the job, as I didn't feel right having to leave the position mid year. Had twins following the birth of my first son, lost one, then had my daughter shortly after. I stayed home and raised my kids instead of working. (I was a product of a working mom, and boy did I notice a difference between the way my siblings were raised and myself. (My mom stayed home with them, but went to work a month after I was born.) Couldn't get a teaching position afterwards for a long while until after I left my husband. I finally landed my dream job, and my spine blew 6 months later. I had no health insurance, newly divorced, no money, was bedridden, and had to have spinal surgery. Nero-surgeon didn't think I would walk again, the damage was so bad. Divorce and surgery went on my credit cards.. By the grace of God, and the skill of my surgeon, and lots of physical therapy afterwards, I got back on my feet, and found a job teaching at a private preschool. Loved the job, but I really wanted to teach children with autism. Started taking graduate courses after the sale of my former marital home, got out of debt and had some cash left over.. finally! After 2 semesters, realized that I couldn't take care of my 3 kids, a house, work full time and go to graduate school. I was too worn out and I was extremely concerned that I couldn't perform at the same level in the classroom anymore, and that wasn't fair to my students. Quit my job to go to graduate school full time, figuring I would land my dream job at the end of it, and during my last semester during finals, my mom got ill. Shortly after came the cancer diagnosis, and 2 days after that she had a heart attack and stroke. Since I was unemployed, I took care of her and my dad until her death in September, and then my dad fell apart. Bowel obstruction, heart attack, mild stroke, and I've been taking care of him ever since, which is my full time job on top of my 3 kids, and taking care of 2 households. I am now his "paid nurse" although my salary puts me way below the federal poverty guideline.. I would never have dreamed that my life would have turned out the way it has. But, I do believe there is a reason for it all. Maybe one of my children will be the one who finds a cure for cancer, or solve some other worldly crisis. Who knows? At the age of 46, I am currently considering attending nursing school. While my dad was in rehab after his heart attack and stroke, I loved interacting with the other elderly patients...My heart just opened up and poured out to them. And although it is trying, I am grateful for the opportunity to take care of my dad. But I want/need to do more. There is a calling on my life, and although I'm not sure whether or not it is in the medical field, I do know that I am to be helping people and ministering to them.. Sorry, I guess I got caught up on how life events change the course of our lives, and just spewed out pretty much my whole life in a few lines.. lol. So there you have it, I've gone from musician, to stay at home mom, to teacher, to caregiver..who would have thought it??
    3946 days ago
    Lou, this blog, as usual, touched my heart! My life could probably be on Oprah Winfrey! No way did I ever believe long ago how the Lord would change my difficult circumstances and turn my life into one full of love, stability and joy! Sure, there are rough spots, we all have them! But I thank the Lord that I chose to move forward instead of letting the past consume me! emoticon emoticon
    3946 days ago
    Funny you should blog about this tonight, as I was just laughing with my husband about a specific choice I did not make and wondering how my life would be different if I had jumped on the opportunity. Mike had found an old record, 'Hair', in a trash can and rescued it - worth framing. It was amusing that he found that particular record. Back n the 60's, in New York, someone stopped me on the street and asked me if I would audition for a new musical, did I sing and dance? Yes, but I think he was really interested in my hair that was longer than my miniskirt. The musical? 'Hair' In a rash of either shyness or sensibility, I did not go to the audition. Later, of course, it turned out to be a huge hit.

    The paths not taken... who can tell what ripples in the universe occur from each little choice.
    3946 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/25/2010 10:18:12 PM
    Bill often says have no regrets because it took each step to get us here, today, right where God wants us to be. Lots of wisdom in that. I do so want to buy your aunt's book once it's published. Please don't forget to let us know when it's done!
    3946 days ago
    Every step in my past, no matter how screwed up led me to where I am now. I love where I am now.
    3946 days ago
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